Yes, it’s that time of year again when the technicolor travelling circus that is Eurovision rolls into town. After Ukraine’s win last year, the tele-moguls wisely decided against staging the glitterfest in Kyiv with the risk of Russian drones crashing the party – literally. So, the poisoned – or blesséd – chalice was passed to runners-up, le Royaume-Uni.
‘… the songfest has been given an extra political frisson this year by Tsar Putin’s annexation/ repatriation (delete according to taste) of the Crimea; continued unrest in eastern Ukraine might earn Kiev a few sympathy votes…’
Prophetic or what?
Reaching an audience of over 160 million, the Eurovision Song Contest is the biggest music show on the planet. These days, the competition is less about the actual songs – once heard, rarely remembered – and more about the glitzy spectacle, with performances ranging from the camply sublime to the utterly bizarre. It hardly matters. Votes will be cast along political and ethnic fault lines anyway. They always are.
The City of Liverpool won the bid to host the jamboree on behalf of Ukraine and good ol’ Auntie Beeb has chucked most of our licence fee at it with week-long sideshows online and on stage to accompany the main events. Excitement has built to fever pitch with superfans from across the realm and the continent descending on the city. There have even been special trains laid on…
Just like our Liverpudlian comrades, we’ve decided to embrace the entire silly shindig with a silly shindig of our own. Sadly, our gaff is a tad smaller than the Liverpool Arena so a kindly neighbour has stepped in to host the show at their mini-mansion. They’ll be silly hats, silly score cards and silly prizes. Good luck to the UK’s Mae Muller. It’s a crackin’ song with crackin’ lyrics.
But when the nil points roll in and the UK predictably plummets down the scoreboard, we’ll just crack open another bottle and drown our silly sorrows.
The grand final of the Eurovision travelling circus hits town tonight. This time, the old imperial seat of the Hapsburgs, Vienna, is the venue for the annual glitterfest of frightful frocks and terrible tunes. The BBC has chosen posh celebrity cook and reformed coke head, Nigella Lawson to announce the verdict of the UK jury. I hope she doesn’t get too sniffy about it.
This year’s no-hope entry for Royaume Uni is Still in Love with You by Electro Velvet. God alone knows why Auntie Beeb thinks a daft Charleston pastiche with no discernible chorus stands the slightest chance of making it to the left hand side of the leader board. Still, I hear torch song dirges are big this year (along with the hair) so who knows? Electro Velvet might just rise above the slash-your-wrist ditties.
PS. The man who coined the phrase ‘Eurovision’ died in 2010 at the grand old age of 94. His name was George Campey. I’m saying nothing.
PPS. The UK entry flopped yet again. Has the BBC given up trying?
Liam hyperventilated at the prospect of watching Eurovision’s Greatest Hits, an extravaganza beamed across Europe by the BBC to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the travelling camp fest. I slipped a little something in his Rioja to calm him down. Compered by Graham Norton in his newly acquired hipster whiskers and the posh-frocked Swede, Petra Mede, the show featured some of the contest’s most iconic/dire/fabulous/dreadful (delete according to taste) songs from times past – Brotherhood of Man, Johnny Logan, Lordi, Nicole, Bobby Socks (who?) to name but a few. Sadly, ABBA didn’t reform for the celebration but the BBC did chuck in Riverdance to get the feet tapping (an interval act that was one of the best things to ever emerge from the competition).
Eurovision has come a long way since Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson represented Le Royaume-Uni in 1959 with Sing, Little Birdie. Now we have the transgender Dana International (winner for Israel in 1998) and Conchita Wurst, the bearded lady (winner for Austria 2014) singing a duet holding hands. Way to go, sisters – changing the world one sequin at a time and really pissing off the bigots.
Conchita Wurst’s hair-raising victory at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was historic for two reasons:
A country not associated with the Balkans, Baltic and/or the former Soviet Union actually won for a change; and
She was a he in a frock and whiskers (just in case you hadn’t noticed).
Naturally, the Russian Orthodox Church (among other right wing reactionaries) is outraged by the swirling cesspit of sodomites that the contest has become. After all, real bearded men don’t wear dresses do they?